Assessment of EGM2008 in Europe using accurate astrogeodetic vertical deflections and omission error estimates from SRTM/DTM2006.0 residual terrain model data
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We assess the new EGM2008 Earth gravitational model using a set of 1056 astrogeodetic vertical deflections over parts of continental Europe. Our astrogeodetic vertical deflection data set originates from zenith camera observations performed during 1983-2008. This set, which is completely independent from EGM2008, covers, e.g., Switzerland, Germany, Portugal and Greece, and samples a variety of topography ? level terrain, medium elevated and rugged Alpine areas. We describe how EGM2008 is used to compute vertical deflections according to Helmert?s (surface) definition. Particular attention is paid to estimating the EGM2008 signal omission error from residual terrain model (RTM) data. The RTM data is obtained from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevation model and the DTM2006.0 high degree spherical harmonic reference surface. The comparisons between the astrogeodetic and EGM2008 vertical deflections show an agreement of about 3 arc seconds (root mean square, RMS). Adding omission error estimates from RTM to EGM2008 significantly reduces the discrepancies from the complete European set of astrogeodetic deflections to 1 arc second (RMS). Depending on the region, the RMS errors vary between 0.4 and 1.5 arc seconds. These values not only reflect EGM2008 commission errors, but also short-scale mass-density anomalies not modelled from the RTM data. Given (1) formally stated EGM2008 commission error estimates of about 0.6-0.8 arc seconds for vertical deflections, and (2) that short-scale mass-density anomalies may affect vertical deflections by about 1 arc second, the agreement between EGM2008 and our astrogeodetic deflection data set is very good. Further focus is placed on the investigation of the high-degree spectral bands of EGM2008. As a general conclusion, EGM2008 ? enhanced by RTM data ? is capable of predicting Helmert vertical deflections at the 1 arc second accuracy level over Europe
Copyright © 2010 The American Geophysical Union
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